Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday Flashback: "Low" by Cracker

"Alt-Rock" was my ish back in high school. I cannot front.
Looking back now, it's easy to see how it was another corporate brand, but some of the music still endures. Like "Low" by Cracker.
I went internets digging for this joint last year, on one of my usual nostalgic turns. This song still works. And watching the video with Sandra Bernhard is still pretty funny, in an un-ironic way even.
I mention all of this because I interviewed Johnny Hickman of Cracker last week. He and lead singer David Lowery (the shirtless guy in the vide0) are coming to Monterey Live Friday night, to perform an acoustic set.
Hickman was a really great interview and had a lot of fond recollections of the old days. Looking back to that era, it's funny to see what bands are still left (Radiohead, Flaming Lips, Weezer to name a few) and see where Cracker fit in. They're in there somewhere, sort of.
Doesn't matter anyway. "Low" is and always will be a great song.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

"The Beat @ Wave St." w/ Sledge Grits Band

New ep of "The Beat @ Wave St." with local heroes The Sledge Grits Band. These girls are really something special, and I wish them all the luck in the world.

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Video: California Poetry Out Loud finals featuring PG High's Kylie Batlin

Two very long but stellar videos have emerged from the California Poetry Out Loud finals. Pacific Grove High senior Kylie Batlin took second place in the state competition, a huge honor.
Also, the entire program will be re-broadcast on local Comcast channel 21. The first re-broadcast will be at 7 p.m. Friday, April 3, and again at midnight and 6 p.m. April 4.
Below are the videos of the competition in their entirety, which run a good three hours each.

CA. Poetry Out Loud Finals pt. 1

CA. Poetry Out Loud Finals pt. 2

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Re-broadcast of PG High's Kylie Batlin on Ca. Poetry Out Loud

A re-broadcast of the 2009 California Poetry Out Loud, featuring Pacific Grove High School senior Kylie Tressa Gael Batlin, will air at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, March 28 on Comcast channel 21.

Yeah, that's really early, but if you can set your DVR, it would be worth watching. Kylie will be performing @ The Rubber Chicken Poetry Slam April 8. Your girl deserves all the props in the world for taking second at the Statewide event.

You can link to the California Arts Council page with news on the 2009 California Poetry Out Loud here.

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Congrats to Ralph Ward @ Alvarez High

This is out of our lane @ "The Beat," but I want to send out a special congrats to my old friend Ralph Ward, who was recently named head coach of the Everett Alvarez High School varsity football team.
Ralph was nice on the field during his high school/college years, and he comes from a great football lineage. If anyone can help turn things around @ Alvarez, it's that man. Even though I'll be rooting against him once a year when my Alisal Trojans face the Eagles, I'll be cheering for his success.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mos Def really, really likes MF Doom

An old friend of mine used to have used to have this theory that any good rapper knows the lyrics to their favorite hip-hop songs. I agree. I've always had a good hold on my favorite lyrics. Something I pride myself on.
Mos Def appears to subscribe to this line of reasoning. In this video, he recites a whole bunch of DOOM lyrics. He also says out loud what a lot of us have been thinking - Wayne ain't all that.
Videos like this are the reason why I love the internets.

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Jacob Tsypkin @ The Rubber Chicken Poetry Slam 3.25.09

My boy Jacob Tsypkin performing his latest piece @ The Rubber Chicken Poetry Slam.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Photo: 50-ft. tall George Thorogood smashes through Old Town Salinas, threatens to destroy locals with giant guitar

Your boy George is coming to Salinas in June. You have been warned.

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Art Song Festival 09 Commercial

Salinas's Art Song Festival takes place Saturday, March 28, all day long in Old Town Salinas. Lots of live music, dancing, graffiti demonstrations, and free family fun. Above is one of the web commercials for Art Song. Support local artists!

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George Lopez talk show = it's about time!

Some television suits finally got it right and gave local homeboy George Lopez his own talk show. Bout dag time!
I can't think of anyone better suited to diversify the late (white?) night stratosphere. Late night TV has long been a boys club —Arsenio was the last to try and spice up the late night with any success. But the world should be ready for Lopez, who has paid his dues and earned the respect of his peers.
Of course, we can expect no less than 100,000 commercial ads promoting the show during the baseball playoffs on TBS (where the show will air), but that'll be a good thing. Latinos love baseball, and we should be pretty determined to make this a success.
Only bad thing I can think of — the show airs @ 11 p.m., opposite "Chelsea Lately" which is appointment TV in my house. Sounds like a late night war for the remote! AP story below:

George Lopez to host late-night talk show on TBS
|AP Television Writer|
NEW YORK (AP) — Comic George Lopez will start a new talk show on TBS next fall, saying he wanted to reach a diverse audience that generally isn’t spoken to in late-night television.
The hourlong show, which doesn’t have a title yet, will air Monday through Thursday at 11 p.m.
TBS is moving to establish a new talk show at a time of change in the genre. Jay Leno is moving to prime-time at NBC, Conan O’Brien takes over the ‘‘Tonight’’ show in June and Jimmy Fallon recently started in O’Brien’s ‘‘Late Night’’ time slot.
‘‘I’m a pretty visible Mexican-American guy who has managed to cross over,’’ said Lopez, who had a six-year run with his own ABC sitcom. ‘‘I’m not a singer. I’m not Antonio Banderas. I’m a guy who came up the hard way on the street, and I speak to people who have the same life story.’’
Late-night television, and TV entertainment in general, ‘‘is a place where everything is geared toward Caucasians,’’ Lopez said.
He said he wants to be inclusive, not divisive, in much the same way as Arsenio Hall’s early-1990s talk show.
Lopez and his producers approached TBS with a pilot episode filmed on an outdoor soundstage, with Eva Longoria, Dane Cook and Samuel L. Jackson as guests. Lopez sat audience members close to the stage, let them ask questions and didn’t sit behind a desk.
‘‘The music was from salsa to Led Zeppelin,’’ he said. ‘‘Look, you can either go to Nieman Marcus or you can go to a flea market. When you go to a swap meet, there’s just a ground-level feel that you can find anything there. At Nieman Marcus, you’re not going to find tube socks and pliers. This will be a flea market feel.’’
TBS was sold by the pilot, said Michael Wright, the cable network’s programming chief.
‘‘They took George Lopez and his style and his spirit and this is the best way to do this,’’ Wright said. ‘‘Rather than jamming him into a show, they built a show around his personality. They basically made it a street party.’’
Besides sensing that the time may be right to introduce a late-night talk show, TBS was looking into an uncertain future for its typical late-night fare. The network has done well then with reruns of ‘‘Seinfeld’’ and ‘‘Sex and the City,’’ but when viewers eventually tire of those, there are few network sitcoms that eventually will hit the syndication market to replace them.
TBS also has a relatively diverse audience. It is basic cable’s top-rated network among young Hispanic adults, in large part because of its coverage of major league baseball playoffs. And TBS’ ‘‘House of Payne’’ was the top series last fall among young black adults, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Lopez’s show, which will be produced in Los Angeles, will premiere in November to take advantage of promotion during the playoffs and because that month usually brings a bumper crop of celebrities available to talk shows to pitch new projects, Wright said.
Lopez said he had already received a message from Longoria asking to be a guest on his first show.
‘‘I told her that if she managed to get pregnant and announce it on my show she’d be in the pole position to be my first guest,’’ he said.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Kanye, Com, Badu performing @ SXSW

I read about this show on Pitchfork.com, now this video surfaces and I wish I could have been there. SXSW 2009 is over, and by most reports it was a good look for the music industry and fans of music.

One of these days, I hope I can get out there. This just looks like fun stuff.

EDIT: Watching this video, it occurred to me that it must be strange for Com to rock a stage with his ex, after a) she just had a baby with a lesser-known rapper (Jay Electronica) only one month ago and b) this is the biggest song of his career, presumably written for her. In any event, they look great rocking together and that song is still one of my all time favorite hip-hop love songs. Don't know why I bother sweating that small stuff.

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Jokes, People

Editor's Note: I recently submitted some jokes to a local comedian. He didn't use any of them, but it's definitely a working relationship in progress. I'll post the stuff he doesn't use on my blog from time to time. This is just fun exercise for me.

Chris Brown and Rihanna are in the news everyday, are they together, are they split up. I'm not here to talk about guilt or innocence, because anyone who's been in a real relationship knows that things can get out of hand. But if anything, this should be a lesson to every guy out there.

Men, we have only two options, either be true to your girl, don't ever lie to her, and just be honest, or if you're gonna just be a nasty, low, trifling, two-timing dog, don't own a cell phone. Plain and simple.

Cause think about it, Chris got caught with a 3-page text from his lover, and that's what set Rihanna off. Now first of all, who has the time and the hand eye coordination to type out a 3-page text? Was she texting him a love letter or a book report?

And guys, learn a quick lesson. If you're gonna be tricking, that cell phone is like a portable incriminating evidence device. Girls can use the GPS to figure out where you were, track numbers and messages to figure out who you're with, and if you got a video camera, that can be used as surveilance footage. Your girl be flipping through your pictures like
—"who is this b---- you're hugging up on?"
—“Baby, that's me and your momma at the Christmas party. Why you trippin?"
—“I'm gettin suspicious.”

Guys, if you're drunk dialing your booty call on your own cell phone, that's on record somewhere. When you're done, you might as well mass text everyone saying “I'm a douch. I'm drunk dialing and when my girl sneaks through my phone records at the end of the month, you'll be getting this same text message from her phone.”

Girls ain't playing. My girl keeps a tight grip on my cell phone, like it was a crack pipe. She grabs it as soon as I walk in the door like "Lemme see that thing!” Checks every text and questions it like "Who is this Denise b---- texting you at 10:30 at night?"
—"Baby that's my sister you know that"
—“Well, tell her not to be texting so late. I'm gettin' suspicious."

Those are my three least favorite words these days, "I'm gettin' suspicious." My girl always uses that one.

Because girls know that phone should be on your hip, and if it's not, it's because your pants are off. So they know you better pick up by that fourth ring. Otherwise they're saying "I'm getting' suspicious."

But back to Chris Brown, it's like dude needs to pay attention to his elders. That's the problem with the new R&B artists, they don't take enough lessons from the old school, man.

I guarantee you, that would not have happened to Smokey Robinson. Smokey woulda laid it down all smooth like "Mistakes, I know I've made a few/ but I'm only human, you've made mistakes too."

Chris was singing to Rihanna like "She want that slappy-slappy, that fist-fist/How many times I gotta tell ya stop (in a high pitched voice) playin with me.”

And when the cops was coming, he's singing "Let me see if If run it, run it/I better just run it, run it."

That wouldn't have happened to the old school artists, well except for Al Green. Chris is just lucky he didn't end up with a bucket of hot grits on his back.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

El P vs. Tren Reznor/NIN = Whoa

Over on El-P's Twitter account (twitter.com/therealelp), he just dropped a few remixes produced by none other than Trent Reznor.
A link to three tracks is up on his twitter account right now. No telling how long they will stay up.
Of the three tracks, "Up All Night (survivalism mix)" has resonated the most with me so far. With throbbing, synthetic kick drums and scorching riffs, El's cutthroat verbiage bleeds into Reznor's chaotic web of guitars and computer bleeps. El's verses reach a crescendo leading into Reznor's panicked chorus that blends seamlessly into "Vesseltology."
I interviewed El about two years ago when his first collaboration with Reznor was released, on the album "Ill Sleep When You're Dead." El was really proud of the work and sounded pleased to have the relationship he had with Reznor. Glad to see that relationship has lasted and led to more dope music.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Mos Def album "The Ecstatic" commercial

Mos Def - Words - The Ecstatic - in stores Spring 2009

Just got this from Okayplayer.com. Looks like The Mighty Mos Def could be dropping his album on schedule, June 9. Can't wait for "The Ecstatic."

It's been a minute since "Tru3 Magic" dropped, which I think was very underrated. Of course, the man's been busy piecing together a serviceable (if not altogether underwhelming) acting career, but I'm not really checking for his name up on a movie poster. Hopefully, he's going IN on this one.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Abstract Rude song = Very good

One of my favorite MC's from the Good Life/Project Blowed circle, Abstract Rude, has a new album coming out through Rhymesayers Entertainment.
"Rejuvenation" is Ab's solo debut with Rhymesayers. Honestly, it's been way too long since this guy released something. And the press release says Vitamin D is producing the entire thing! Good news (although I'm only sorta bummed that Ant isn't getting in on this).
The title track is also the album's first single. Sample the goodness below.


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The Beat Video Blog w/Ghambit and August Sky

Now playing in the media player to the right are the following interviews with local artists.

Ghambit is a member of Ineffable Music Group, a Santa Cruz/Bay Area based music camp fronted by talent manager Igor Katz. Ghambit reps Watsonville and recently released his first solo project, "Putitinthaair Vol. 1." He was a member of the Warlordz with fellow SC-area MC Sincere and the late Almighty Aziz. Ghambit is a candid, boisterous and overall pleasant dude, and he opens up a lot on the passing of his homie Aziz. I gotta take this time also to correct myself, as I misspelled his stage name in the print edition of The Beat (my bad).

August Sky is a three-piece kids rock/blues band. Members are from Salinas and they play classic rock (Zepplin, Hendrix) mixed with the blues (Muddy Waters, BB King). These kids are some of the most talented yet humble musicians in the area. They have a few shows coming up,and you can check out all the info @ www.myspace.com/augustsky.

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"American Gangster" w/Mac Dre & Romper Room Gang

Late pass. This has been floating around for a minute, but it's definitely worth a look.
I interviewed J-Diggs last year (you can read the interview here) and he talked about this. Interesting to see it come to life. As we all know, Mac Dre was murdered more than four years ago, and his legacy looms larger than ever.
This "AG" piece is fascinating for a number of reasons, but Peninsula residents might be intrigued by the inclusion of our very own Seaside Stretch, C.O.O. of Thizz Entertainment. Stretch is a local hero of sorts, having come up with the entire Thizz crew and now working as Mista F.A.B.'s manager (Fabby is also featured prominently in the doc).

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Sledge Grits Band doesn't make Round 2 - What were voters thinking?

The Sledge Grits Band on the set of the CBS Early Show

Major bummer, but the girls from Sledge Grits Band did not make it to the second round of CBS Early Show's "Singing Family Face-Off." They were topped by J4 of Tennessee in online voting.
Personally, if it was based on performance alone, Sledge Grits killed it. It was over from the moment MiMi Sledge slid over to the judges panel and belted out "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" with a voice stronger than her deceitful 8 years of age. It was OVER!
Alas, it wasn't meant to be. The girls are home now, exhausted, but still proud of their achievement.
"When we were performing I was so excited,” said Keiko Sledge, the 14-year-old bassist. “You have these three judges in front of you who were expecting us to bring it. I just looked at my three sisters and said let's do it!”
It was done, but sadly, they deserved better.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sledge Grits Band in NYC - Day 3

Editors Note: Special guest blogger Wendy Sledge, band mother for the Sledge Grits band, gives a quick report on the band's Wednesday morning performance on the "CBS Early Show."

When we got off the stage, we got a pretty amazing response. The girls are just so excited and happy. You couldn't see it on camera, but the whole studio enjoyed it.

At first the girls were nervous watching the other band, because they had choreography in their set. But I think we did alright.

We didn't expect (Kathy Sledge, a member of Sister Sledge and one of the panel judges) to be there, but we knew she has been one of the judges. It was exciting to see her there.

MiMi made (Kathy Sledge) cry. You know how she walked to the judges station during the performance? She started to cry. The cameras tried not to show that too much. Afterward, (Kathy Sledge) came up to us and gave the girls all hugs and said we did great.

I have to go now, we're at the airport. It's been a crazy day!

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Sledge Grits Band perform on CBS Early Show - WOW!

Speechless. I am without speech.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sledge Grits Band in NYC - Day 2

Editors note: Today is day two of the Sledge Grits Band of Salinas's trip to New York City, where they are gearing up to perform on CBS Early Show. Band member Keiko Sledge and mom Wendy Sledge give us this special blog report:


Today we woke up early and we went and had breakfast with the producers of the show and the band we are competing against. That was really fun meeting with everybody.

We went over to the place where we would be rehearsing, CBS studios. We rehearsed there, we watched the other band. They were really good.

We got to hear how it sounded on actual TV. It was pretty cool in the studio.

After that, we went out into the city. We went into FAO Schwartz. We looked around, went window shopping. Then we came home and relaxed and rehearsed.

In the recording studio, at first, we rehearsed on the actual stage that you would see in the segment. It was on the revolving stage they set up. I didn't expect so many people to be around. They had lots of producers and lots of people helping. There was lighting and sound people and it was so cool. We got to experience how the microphones work and how the studio works.

I was expecting to have to set up my own stuff, but we didn't. They did it for us.

Meeting the other band was really fun. They're all right around our ages. It goes from age 6 to 7 8 t 9, then there's a gap. Then it goes from age 12-13, 14-15.

We were amongst the kids. There wasn't any real competition amongst the kids. We got to listen to each other, they were really supportive of our stuff and we were really supportive of their stuff.

All I can say is the songs we are both performing are pretty different. They are both gospel of course, but besides that they're pretty different.

We are in for the night. I think we're going to order in again. We are just rehearsing what we can. We're trying to talk momma into letting us walk around, but she wants us in bed early. We have to be in the studio by 5 am., so we'll be up really early about 3 a.m.

We're going to be really excited tonight. We're going to turn off all the lights and I'm sure momma is going to tell us be quiet, be quiet. Besides that, it's been a long couple of days with the time changes and everything, so I'm sure we'll be able to get some sleep before tomorrow.


We got up early and went to have b fast. it was nice to put a face to the names of some of the people we've been speaking to the last month.

The other band were really nice people.

We went to the studio. It's just amazing. They have amazing sound people over there. We got the girls all situated.

In the studio they practiced their song. It was actually quite quick that they got the stage down and everything. I think people are going to like the performance tomorrow. They've changed it a little bit, it worked out really well.

From there, they had taken the kids earlier in the day to Central Park. It was just a trip that right in the middle of this big old city was this big old park.

Just taking the kids to the toy store, that was really fun. They had the best time.

The other band's song is a little more different than the girls. They chose more of an upbeat song. We have more of a vocally driven song.

The other band goes second. We go first. We flipped a coin and I lost.

At first I thought it was going to put us at a disadvantage, but I think it's going to be to our advantage going second. As long as the girls hit the song, i think they'll have a little bit of an edge.

It's time to settle in and maybe just watch some TV for a little bit. It's about 7 p.m. right now

It's so funny. Last night, the alarm clock in the hotel room wasn't set right. It started up at 12 a.m. My husband and I were on edge, so we both jumped up out of bed. It feels like every time we close our eyes the alarm clock goes off. That kind of goes to show the kind of week we're having.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

The Sledge Grits Band in New York City - Day 1

Photo by Orville Myers/The Herald

Editors Note: Special guest blogger Keiko Sledge of the Sledge Grits Band of Salinas is reporting live on the scene from the band's trip to New York City. The band will perform Wednesday on the CBS Early Show as part of the "Singing Family Face-Off" competition. Keiko will blog throughout the week as the band prepares for its national TV performance debut.

We're at the hotel right now. It's called the Hensley Park Lane Hotel. It's across the street from Central Park. It's really, really pretty. If you look out the window, you can see all the beautiful buildings, but (the park is) on the other side of the building. Right now it's night time, so it's so beautiful.

Our day started off when we woke up at about 3 a.m. and we got out the door. Our friend drove us to the Monterey Airport. We got to check in really early just in case there were any delays. We got there about 4:30 a.m. The plane left at 6 a.m. From there, we went to the Denver Airport in Colorado. That one left at 10:50 a.m , from there, we left and headed straight to New York City

When we got here, it was so amazing. Someone came and picked us up and brought us here and the hotel is just beautiful. It's been so much fun so far. We're just getting settled in.

For dinner, we ordered in and we used room service because the babies (younger sisters MiMi and BoPah) were real excited to have room service. We're just relaxing right now because it's been a real long day. We're going to rest for tomorrow. We're going to meet with the producers tommorrow.

Tomorrow, early in the morning, were going to have breakfast with the producers and meet with the other band we're competing with. Then there's a rehearsal. We're going to make sure the settings are right and do a sound check. Then there's lunch. After that, we have the rest of the day and see what's out here.

We don't have any ideas (where we're going sight seeing). We're looking at that right now. I know there's some zoos and parks and huge buildings. We're still trying to figure out what we want to see because we're only here for a limited time.

The weather is actually pretty cold. It's really cool, a little cloudy, but it's not raining and that's good. It's pretty tolerable.

I was so excited when we were flying here. I was just thinking ”Oh my goodness! I cannot believe we are on our way to New York and we're going there to perform.” I was feeling a whole bunch of feelings. I was proud. I was anxious. It's exciting.

I'm pretty tired right now. I'm really too excited from getting her to be too tired, and I got to sleep a lot on the plane. We all got to sleep a lot on the plane. But I am excited.

I just want to say that I hope that everybody who ends up seeing our song likes it and we've been working really hard.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

So anyone heard anything new about this Chris Brown/Rihanna thing?

So, we finally have some details on the whole Chris Brown/Rihanna situation, painting a picture that is likely to stay up for a little bit longer.

Me and my girl have been going back and forth on the subject the past few weeks now. She's squarely in Brown's corner, arguing that she probably did something to provoke his behavior. I've been on Rihanna's side, reasoning that regardless of the circumstance, right or wrong, you just can't leave your girl bleeding and unconscious on the side of the road for police to find her. Just don't do it homie!

We now have some more details on the incident: she found a text from another woman, flipped out, he apparently went berzerker and started hitting her while driving, an odd site to consider if you were to somehow be walking by and witness it ("hey, is that chris brown and rihanna beating each other up in a Lamborghini?"). The whole thing is just sad because human emotion is such a fragile thing.

I won't pass judgment on the boy because we are all innocent until proven guilty. Likewise, I won't drown myself in sympathy for Rihanna because in all relationships, there are right ways and wrong ways to deal with things. I'm merely a (rather distant) observer, awed by the sparks of this celebrity supernova.

I really just hope some sort of positive outcome reveals itself from all this, although I can't imagine what that could be right now. Sometimes the best thing is for everything to just go away on its own and let people heal. Given the colossal attention this thing is getting, that's the least likely scenario.

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"Hoodie" and other reasons I can no longer stand hip-hop slang in the American cultural lexicon

So, I'm reading a police report on a recent bank robbery in North Salinas. Serious stuff, with the robbers pulling an old fashion "put your hands in the air" (minus the wave them like you just don't care) type of heist.
I was drawn into the report right up to the point where the story said “The robbers, both wearing hoodie sweatshirts...”
Hoodie sweatshirts? Really?
I've read enough news wire stories on the "hip-hopification" of the American lexicon to understand and not be shocked by such word usage. And maybe hoodie itself isn't the most egregious usage of slang, but here, it just struck me.
Maybe it's because hoodie rhymes with woodie, and both words just seem silly/borderline juvenile to me.
I think the first time I ever even heard the word "hoodie" I'm pretty sure was in a Das Efx song, and they were using it just so it could rhyme with "Sam Goodie," which sounds even more silly if you connect the dots.
Like, if hoodie makes it into the Oxford dictionary (and who's to say it hasn't already? I'm too lazy to look it up) will the origins be rooted back to one of the Das Efx , figgety-wiggety guys?
Maybe I should call for a moratorium on all unnecessary hip-hop slang, beginning with hoodie and it's root ('hood is no longer acceptable)and extending to bling, whole sale phrases like back in the day, and any story reference either to Chuck D calling rap music "The Black CNN" or identifying 50 Cent as "Fiddy."
Enough is enough, people.

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My first professional fellowship

I'm not one to trumpet my own arrival anywhere, but I'm pretty pleased with one recent career development: my first professional journalism fellowship.
Yours truly was chosen to participate in the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater.
Applause everyone.
For 10 days in April, I'll be working at the USC Annenberg's School of Journalism. Going to plays, attending writing workshops, and working one-on-one with prominent journalists in a master class are all part of the package.
My initial reaction was excitement. That has been doubled up as I learn more about the NEA and their mission to bring arts to everyone, from the big city to the small town barrio.
Corny as it may sound, I really believe the arts can have a positive effect on communities dealing with gang violence and other social ills. I'm honored to now be involved with an organization that seems to recognize this as well.
April's going to be an exciting month.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sledge Grits Band to sing gospel on CBS Early Show

Watch CBS Videos Online
The four young girls sat anxiously in the KION television studios, dressed to impress, even though it was three in the morning.
Making their national television studio debut, the Sledge Grits Band of Salinas were up at 3 a.m. to learn they would be singing gospel music next week in front of a nationwide audience.
The girls appeared this morning on the CBS Early Show, the nationally televised morning news and variety program. Their spot was broadcast via satellite from the local CBS affiliate studios in Salinas.
All four members, Keiko, 14, Kariel, 12, "MiMi" 8 and Kelly Jo, 6, were up well past their bed time (or well before their alarm clock settings)to find out what genre of music they would perform on the show. Show hosts Harry Smith and Julie Chen spoke to the girls and their opponents, J4, a band of siblings from Tennessee.
Chen spun a wheel to pick which genre both bands would be performing. When it landed on gospel, both bands were jolted with excitement.
Sledge Grits Band has performed gospel music before.
“We love gospel music and it's been around our house since we were little,” said young Keiko, without the slightest hint of irony.
Their opponents are also pretty familiar with the style — their father is a pastor and a traveling gospel singer.
“Divine intervention,” cracked Smith.
The band will have five days to rehearse their song before heading out to New York City next week. On March 11, they will make their national television performance debut and vie for a shot at a recording contract with CBS.
Despite the early morning rise and seeming opponent disadvantage, the girls carried themselves with grace.
“We're confident,” said Keiko.
Without question.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

"The Beat @ Wave St." w/ Young Pome

Now streaming in the media player to your right is the latest episode of "The Beat @ Wave St." This week, we chop it up with Young Pome, season 3 winner of Jammin' 97.9's Open Mic competition.

Pome talked about winning the competition as well as his hustle trying to make name for himself as a young artist in the 831. Clips of his performance are also cut between the interview. Enjoy.

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The Roots on Jimmy Fallon — quite good, actually

Stayed up for the opening monologue of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" last night (couldn't make it past the intro, too tired).

I mainly watched to check out The Roots, my favorite band of all-time. Lots of critics and bloggers etc. have been questioning their move to a late-night talk show, but I think it's great. The band is actually fit for such a gig, given their versatility (not just hip-hop, these guys can do jazz, funk, even hardcore). Plus, Dave Chappell's ex-writing partner, Neal Brennan, helped get them on the show, so that's a plus-plus.

The band sounded good, dare I say great, but really showed their potential during the closing bit in the monologue called "Slow Jamming The News." Dropping a thick love jam, Fallon gave a faux-R&B treatment to a joke on the stimulus package, while Black Thought crooned/testified ala Teddy Pendergrass in the background. It may take a few more tries, but that could become a fun running bit.

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